China remains world’s top executioner
China remains the world’s top executioner, followed by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan, new figures from Amnesty International show.
At least 1,032 people were executed in 23 countries in 2016. In 2015 Amnesty International recorded 1,634 executions in 25 countries worldwide - a historical spike unmatched since 1989.
China remained the world’s top executioner – but the true extent of the use of the death penalty in China is unknown as this data is considered a state secret; the global figure of at least 1,032 excludes the thousands of executions believed to have been carried out in China.
Excluding China, 87 per cent of all executions took place in just four countries – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.
During 2016, 23 countries, about one in eight of all countries worldwide, are known to have carried out executions. This number has decreased significantly from twenty years ago (40 countries carried out executions in 1997). Belarus, Botswana, Nigeria and authorities within the State of Palestine resumed executions in 2016; Chad, India, Jordan, Oman and United Arab Emirates – all countries that executed people in 2015 − did not report any executions last year.
“China wants to be a leader on the world stage, but when it comes to the death penalty it is leading in the worst possible way - executing more people annually than any other country in the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
“The Chinese government has recognized it is a laggard in terms of openness and judicial transparency, but it persists in actively concealing the true scale of executions. It is high time for China to lift the veil on this deadly secret and finally come clean about its death penalty system.
“Just a handful of countries are still executing people on a large scale. The majority of states no longer condone the state taking human life. With just four countries responsible for 87 per cent of all recorded executions – the death penalty is itself living on borrowed time.”